Little fingers wobble across the keys. Like baby fawn legs, unsure, getting more sure each week. This school year will mark fifteen years of professional teaching. And I love it – not all of it – it’s a lot of hard work – but I am finding my groove.
I’m also finding that it’s easy for a groove to turn into a rut. And to set my brain on autopilot and be annoyed at anything and anyone that causes turbulence. And to look down.
Charity challenged us at writer’s group to think about people in our everyday lives – that we forget to look at.
The people I see everyday, all day, are children. It’s easy to look down – at fingers, at hand positions, at assignment books – and forget to look up at them, long and hard – and smile. To say, “I love to hear you play,” to each child, every time, especially the last ones of the day, when I’m super tired. To say, “Make your mistakes big,” because confident playing leads to better playing.
I’ve realized this because I’ve recently been interacting with other colleagues a decade younger than I am – with way more energy and wildness. I’m remembering my first years of teaching – relationally, I did a lot wrong – but professionally, I threw caution to the wind and didn’t “save back” energy for the next day. Tomorrow would bring its own trouble, but its own inspiration as well.
So this year, my fifteenth year, I’m keeping the skills and the peace and the grace that I need to survive in business. But I’m also returning to the first year and thinking – If my life were marked only for today, how would I live it?
I’m reminding myself to look at the kids “eye to eye”, and what it was like to be young and unsteady and unsure in a new challenge. Remembering to put in the necessary energy to motivate both of us to better music.
And the more energy I put into it, the more I get back from my students. And the more I’m left with for the next day, not less.
Use it up.
Use it all up.
This story is a part of the “Eye to Eye” series.